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Oscar Nominee Mako Dies at 72

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Jul 24, 2006 | 4:49am EDT

Memoirs of a Geisha star Mako has lost his battle with esophageal cancer at his home in Ventura County, California. He was 72.

The Asian-American actor, who was Oscar-nominated for his portrayal of submissive engineer Po-Han in The Sand Pebbles in 1966, died on Friday.

Brought up in Japan by his grandparents while his parents were studying in New York, Mako joined his mother and father when they were granted U.S. citizenship.

He studied architecture before joining the U.S. Army in the early 1950s and became passionate about acting while performing in military shows. He became a naturalized American in 1956.

After his Army service, he enrolled at the Pasadena Community Playhouse in California and studied to become a professional actor.

The Sand Pebbles, which earned him an Academy Award Best Supporting Actor nod, was his first film. His other movies include The Ugly Dachsund (1966), The Green Hornet (1974), An Eye for an Eye (1981), Seven Years in Tibet (1997), Bulletproof Monk (2003) and Pearl Harbor (2001).

His impressive TV resume includes appearances in Wonder Woman, I Spy, Hawaii Five-O, Kung Fu and The Streets of San Francisco.

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